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Selecting schools


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I'm currently a double major (Bio and Chem) looking to apply to PhD programs in Organic Chemistry in the fall (for 2015), this also means its taken me 5 years to complete undergrad. Both my advisors and I are struggling with selecting schools that would be a good match for me.


When I apply:

I will have worked 2 full years on a drug discovery project, and have one outside summer REU experience in a bio lab

3.65 GPA, 3.86 Chem GPA

Solid GRE scores

Strong LoRs

2 publications in the works (not first author)

A few awards/honors (ACS best senior in orgo, ACS overall chem perf., biology leadership, TriBeta President 2 years, founder of chem honors society on campus)


What works against me/what we're afraid of:

I currently attend a small liberal arts college, all women's, 800 enrolled (We do have a School of Pharmacy which does give our department a little credit). I'm afraid that my lack of an academic pedigree will greatly hinder my success during the application process. To counter act it I've takes a few chemistry grad courses through our Master's program. 


Any idea's of what kind of schools/what caliber of schools I should be applying to?

Edited by cnk324
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I'd say not to be afraid of applying to higher caliber institutions, your degree is just as valid as any from a high ranking university. If they don't want you, fuck them. For lack of a better reference, feel free to apply to programs typically ranked in the top 50. Of course, you shouldn't be looking merely at ranking/prestige, make sure that wherever you apply suits what you want. Think about how much location matters, do you want to live in a city or someplace more rural, how big of a program do you want to enter, and of course what are your research interests. For example, if you want to do drug discovery then there's no point in applying to an organic chemistry program which focuses more on polymer synthesis.

Edited by Vene
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...Even more important than rank & prestige is advisor fit. Figure out what kind of research you'd like to do, then apply to schools where there are 3-4 faculty you would be willing to work for. Read plenty of research group websites, see what interests and excites you. Then follow that.

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